Justice Okon Abang of a Federal High Court, Abuja, Thursday refused the application filed by the candidate of Senator Ahmed Makarfi-led faction of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Eyitayo Jegede (SAN) to appeal the judgment of same court delivered on Oct. 14, which Jimoh Ibrahim as PDP governorship candidate.
Jegede had approached the court, seeking leave to be joined as a defendant in the matter so as to appeal the judgment delivered in favour of Ali Modu Sheriff’s faction of PDP.
This followed the earlier judgment of same court on June 29 which declared as illegal the Ahmed Makarfi-led Caretaker Committee of the national leadership of the PDP.
The Judge ruled that the Makarfi-faction was illegal because it was a product of the party’s convention which held on May 21 in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, in defiance of an earlier order of Justice Ibrahim Buba of the Lagos Division of the Federal High Court, which had stopped the said convention from holding.
Standing on that judgment, Abang had declared on Oct. 14 the governorship candidate from the rival faction led by former Borno State governor, Ali-Modu Sheriff, as the authentic PDP candidate for the November, 26 election in the state.
Justice Abang had also ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to accept Ibrahim as the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ondo State gubernatorial election.
In Thursday’s ruling, Justice Abang stated that Jegede’s application lacked merit and consequently, struck it out.
The Judge held that Jegede was not mentioned in the substantive matter and as such, he lacked the locus standi to seek leave to appeal the judgment.
“He also lacked the right to be joined in the main suit and as such, he cannot be joined thereafter or have the right to appeal the judgment. He is not entitled to appeal.
“There is nothing from the records of the court leading to the judgement of June 29, showing that the applicant has interest in the matter”, Abang held.
The Judge further stated that it was the political Party that submits the list of candidates the Party wants to sponsor in an election.
“It is only the party that can state that a candidate’s name has been submitted. Without a party, a candidate cannot go for election. It is the party that canvasses votes, it is a Party that wins the election. Only political party can stand for an election.”
Justice Abang also held that since PDP, which has the right to appeal the judgment has not done so, it was in the place of Jegede to do so.
Another ground in which Jegede was not entitled to appeal, the Judge ruled, was that he did not participate in the primaries conducted by the Plaintiff on August 29 in the South West.
“In this case, there was no evidence that Jegede participated in the primaries conducted on August 29. It is not a candidate that nominates himself. It is the Party that nominates a candidate.
“This court has no right to entertain the applicant’s application on merit. Jegede has no right to sponsor himself and there is no record before the court that the applicant was the person PDP sponsored for the election.
“Even INEC did not inform the court either orally or otherwise that PDP has nominated Jegede as candidate.
“INEC, even in its incompetent affidavit filed on october 11, did not state that it has received the nomination of the applicant or that his name has been published.
“In my view, it is believed that INEC was aware of the subsisting ruling of the court and as such, it was being careful.”
Abang noted that even if he decide to consider the application on merit, it was already bound to fail because the applicant has failed to appeal the June judgment.
Until that judgment was set aside, Justice Abang held, INEC cannot receive nomination order than the plaintiff, “unless it wants to thread the path of illegality and that will not be good for the society”, he ruled.